Bateman Team Raises Awareness for 2020 Census



By Noah Gilmer

Lee University’s Bateman Team recently worked to raise awareness for the U.S. 2020 census in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman Competition. The team consisted of senior public relations majors Jake Cash, Cassandra Freshour, Brittney Peek, and Julianna Spears.

The Bateman Team implemented a campaign for the Census Bureau through March 20 to reach off-campus college students and renters because they have historically been “hard-to-reach” groups. The team’s main goals were to raise awareness for the 2020 census, improve attitudes toward it, and increase peoples’ intent to fill it out.

The team members partnered with the Bradly Country Census Committee, known as Bradley County Counts (BCC), and managed the BCC’s social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as their primary means of online communication. The team also filmed reputable community leaders promoting the census as the majority of its content.
On Lee’s campus, the team conducted class presentations, displayed print and digital flyers, and hosted a trivia night for students. They worked to create a “Census on Campus” promotional video by interviewing and filming students on campus. The team was able to receive media coverage on local radio station Mix 104.1, as well as Nancy’s Neighborhood on WTNB, The Chattanoogan, The Cleveland Daily Banner, and the Lee University Clarion.

“I am always amazed to see the level of commitment, professionalism, and creativity that comes from the Bateman students, and this year’s team is no exception,” said Dr. Andrea Phillips, Lee professor of public relations and Bateman team sponsor. “The students have truly taken ownership of the campaign, from executing a quality research project in the Bradley Country community to setting up partnerships with local businesses to recreating campaign material when the coronavirus forced a change in plans.”

The PRSSA holds the Bateman Team Competition every year. It is a competition in which approximately 70 schools select four or five students to create a public relations campaign for a national client. The teams are required to research, plan, implement, and evaluate their campaign during the school year and turn in their submission to national PRSSA for judging.

Though the team had planned to do two more trivia activities on campus, the threat of COVID-19 and social distancing rules required them to cancel the events. Instead, the team created a “Bored at Home” video that was promoted on the BCC social media pages. The video explained how to fill out the census form either online, by mail, or by phone.

“If Bradley County receives an accurate count, they will receive necessary federal funding in programs that directly impact members of the community,” said Spears. “We hope that our campaign educated our audiences about these benefits so that Bradley County receives the funding it deserves.”

For more information about how to fill out the census, visit 2020Census.

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